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Thread: 2020 Presidential race

  1. #151
    know nothing pensive_pilgrim's Avatar
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    My god, you took like 500 words to say "the polls seem like a better indicator than the rallies". And hand-waved away any reasoning as to why with "I feel insufficiently motivated to compose an exhaustive explanation in this post". That's the old RM I remember though, present a very basic argument in the form of a novel to make it seem sophisticated.

  2. #152
    Perfect is Shit LowIQLogan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Mexico View Post
    Oh, I see.

    Here’s the thing, though:

    No offense—and I really do mean that—but this is bullshit.


    To be a bit more precise, what you’re presenting here is an extraordinary claim.

    You’ve made a rather blithe assertion that the claim I previously made is false, and in response to the information I referred to as the basis for my claim—which I obtained from the publicly available findings of a professional network of data-collection systems that a rather large prevailing majority of people with relevant interests, both amateur and professional, tend to regard as being among the most reliable sources of such data available—you have offered evidence in rebuttal in the form of an assertion of your personal belief that this information is, in your words. “fake”.

    You’ve additionally suggested an alternate method of measurement, in the form of an allusion to attendance at campaign rallies as a proxy for the prevalence of sentiments toward the president describable as either “favorable” or “unfavorable”, or alternately as the president’s degree of popularity or unpopularity, within the total population of enfranchised citizens capable of voting in the next election.

    You have of course opted (understandably and unobjectionably) not to specify the particular rallies you’re referring to nor their specific attendance figures. Thus, while I duly take note of the fact that you regard this unspecified data as persuasive evidence, we are not as such in a position to assess the implications of this evidence any more rigorously.

    However, I am inclined to think that as of now a more rigorous assessment isn’t something we need to do. This is because my principal response to it is to offer—though at the present moment, with apologies, I feel insufficiently motivated to compose an exhaustive explanation in this post—my belief that there are a rather considerable number of persuasive reasons to regard “Number of people inclined to travel short to moderate distances for the purpose of spending multiple hours in a stadium listening to a particular politician talk at them” as a less scientifically rigorous, and therefore most likely less precisely informative form of measurement than the other type of measurement I previously named as the basis for my original assertion about the president’s popularity. (Namely the results of polls using the traditional generic “approve or disapprove” question commonly referred to as “approval rating.”)

    For reference, I looked up the “approval rating” poll data for Trump a minute or so before I began typing this post, and the most recent update to that figure posted on FiveThirtyEight indicates the following:

    A. Trump is currently unpopular among approximately 52.4% of enfranchised Americans.

    B. Trump is currentlypopular among approximately 42.7% of enfranchised Americans.

    https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com...roval-ratings/

    Since this is reasonably similar to the rough estimates I stated previously, I don’t see reason to significantly modify my position vis-a-vis the question of how popular the current president is among potential members of the 2020 electorate.


    Finally, this leaves the issue of your allegation that approval poll data such as this is “fake”, by which I presume you mean that you believe the data are inaccurate, and that there is also some form of dishonesty occurring in the process of collecting and publicizing this information.

    Since you didn’t really elaborate on either the meaning of the allegation or the reasoning that led you to this conclusion, that leaves us with a rather pronounced paucity of compelling evidence in favor of it.

    In contrast, as I mentioned above, I believe that there is a significant preponderance of contrary evidence, easily sufficient to conclude that this affirmative assertion’s burden of proof remains unsatisfied.


    Which, in closing, brings us back to the subject of extraordinary claims. Portions of your rebuttal here certainly, in my view, constitute rather extraordinary claims, and as the maxim I’m sure we’re all very familiar with says, an extraordinary claim demands extraordinary evidence.


    I will await your delivery of such evidence, but in the meantime—and of course in the event that you should never deliver it—the evidence thus leads me toward regarding the hypothesis about your allegation of “fake” approval polling most likely to be the correct one as the hypothesis that this allegation is baseless, and possibly for all I know something that you just made up. (I.e., in the parlance of our times—bullshit.)



    In summary, therefore, as of yet I do not regard the case for your rebuttal in the form you have thus far presented it as a conclusive refutation of my original assertion—about which I thus continue to feel rather strongly confident.
    How exactly are the approval ratings data you presented useful at measuring the popularity of Donald Trump in the context of an election, aka this thread? Good job redefining popularity so that you can ignore the fact that it is only relevant in relation to other candidates. Look at what you have to do in order to avoid the self-evident truth that Trump, the incumbent, is a popular candidate in 2020.
    "A new immortal appeared in front of you. Would you like preparations of inception?"

  3. #153
    Utisz's Avatar
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    Much better than individual polls and all that I think are betting odds because they have staff dedicated full-time to figuring this stuff out, they have decades of experience figuring this stuff out, they kinda follow the wisdom of the crowds, and, basically, they are politically impartial in the sense that they have to put their money where their mouth is. Well okay you got to consider that there's a vig on the odds, but just mentally decrease the probability a bit and you're good.

    Trump: EVENS
    Harris: 4/1
    Warren: 11/2
    Biden: 15/2
    Buttigieg: 12/1
    Sanders: 12/1

    Obviously Trump is in the lead as he already has the nomination, but his odds alone suggest it's pretty split down the middle right now.

  4. #154
    Minister of Love Roger Mexico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LowIQLogan View Post
    How exactly are the approval ratings data you presented useful at measuring the popularity of Donald Trump in the context of an election, aka this thread? Good job redefining popularity so that you can ignore the fact that it is only relevant in relation to other candidates. Look at what you have to do in order to avoid the self-evident truth that Trump, the incumbent, is a popular candidate in 2020.

    Well, last I checked, four of the Democratic candidates (Biden, Sanders, Warren, and Harris) are currently polling ahead of him, too.

    So, OK, good point, we should look at matchup polls.

    However, when we do look at those, it still doesn’t look very good for him.

    Here’s RCP aggregations for those top 4 Democrats against Trump:


    Biden: (49.6 to 41.1)
    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/ep...iden-6247.html

    Sanders: (49.1 to 44.3)
    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/ep...ders-6250.html

    Warren (47.8 to 45.3)
    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/ep...rren-6251.html

    Harris (46.5 to 44.5)
    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/ep...rris-6252.html


    Do please note that Trump’s scores on these polls are still mostly in the 40-45% range—right where his scores on “approve/disapprove” polls currently are.

    This would tend to suggest that these two numbers actually are pretty relevant to one another. The logical basis for that is also pretty straightforward. An incumbent candidate is largely running on the strength of their prior performance in office. People who are happy with that performance are of course likely to want to re-elect the incumbent, while people who are unhappy with the incumbent’s performance are naturally likely to vote for someone else.

    So I’m afraid I still don’t see your point.

    If by “popular” you simply mean to observe that Trump has a large number of supporters then, well yes, of course he does.

    However, my point was that there has never to date been a point in time at which people who are happy about the fact that he’s in office have outnumbered people who are unhappy about it—and this is generally a bad sign for an incumbent’s re-election campaign, for obvious reasons.

    I’m basing that on ‘scientific’ polls, which of course are not perfect measurements. However, the thesis is also bolstered by the fact that the one measurement we have with a sample size of 100% of voters—the 2016 election outcome itself—even saw Trump’s opponent receive more votes than he did, just not in the right places to prevail in our strange, Byzantine system of allocating state-based electoral points instead of just counting the votes.

    That would be the obvious major problem with national popularity ratings—wrt predicting election outcomes—as the candidate who has the largest number of supporters won’t necessarily win the election.

    However, winners of the popular vote do win in the Electoral College as well far more often than not, with the exceptions tending to be cases (such as 2000) where the popular vote is very close, and the wonkier effects of the EC system of regional point allocation therefore become the deciding factor.

    I would say this was also the case in 2016. Clinton’s popular margin over Trump (48% to 46%, about 3 million votes) was larger than Gore’s over Bush (48.4% to 47.9%, about 500,000), but the geographical locations of voters played a bigger role as indicated by Trump’s larger electoral point margin (304 to 227, vs. 271 to 266). This was though still a much closer outcome on both fronts than 2008, where Obama achieved 53% of the popular vote (~9 million) and a 212-point margin over McCain, or 2012, where he also scored a majority in the popular vote (51% to 47%) by a margin of about 5 million and a 126-point margin over Romney. (Bush’s 3 million-vote margin over Kerry in 2004 corresponded to a 35-point EC margin, as close as Clinton over Trump in popular vote and closer than Trump over Clinton in electoral points.)



    You know, if I was going to be a stickler on phrasing, I might respond to your earlier description of Trump as having “won elections” by pointing out that he has only won [I]a single[/] election himself, and only led his party to one clear overall Congressional election victory the same year.

    I’m not sure I’d confidently view his personal approval rating as having a clear causal relationship to his party’s loss of a chamber of Congress in 2018, but many credible people often do make this attribution between presidential popularity and midterm Congressional elections.

    But this does bring us back to my earlier analysis of the 2016 presidential campaign—in which IIRC Trump was not an especially popular candidate with general-election voters (compared to his primary opponents, Clinton, Sanders, or winning candidates in the same phase of previous elections) any point before or after the primaries.

    Obviously he did win the primary, but primary electorates are notoriously unrepresentative of general electorates.

    Which is what ultimately happened to the Democrats—a lot of devoted Democratic partisans just adore the hell out of Hillary Clinton and see her as a hero, but they’re the only people who see her that way. Highly committed ideological partisans tend to make up the bulk of primary voters, and this makes primary voters in either party a much smaller group than the combined total of primary voters + additional “swing” voters (who likely didn’t vote in any primary) who decide the general election.

    The general electorate thus ended up facing a choice between two nominees who were both notably unpopular, and it was thus more of an “unpopularity contest” to see which candidate voters considered it more important to vote against than a popularity contest to see which candidate voters actually wanted in office.

    So Clinton ended up being the one that the most people viewed as slightly less objectionable, but only by a relatively thin margin, allowing Trump to squeak by on a technicality once the geographical distortion imposed by the Electoral College came into play.



    Hence my initial point, which is that a Democratic victory this time actually would become relatively easy if they can simply pick a nominee whom a decently large percentage of the national populace can be persuaded to actually [I]like[/] or at least positively want in office, because adult American citizens who feel that way about Trump have always been a minority.

    With a majority thinking he sucks, the Democrats mostly just have to figure out how to rally enough of those people (and in the right places for it to count for points) behind a single flag bearer to get him out of office.

    Can they do that? Maybe. Will they do it? I don’t know. That’s hard to say, especially this early.



    But you accused me of subscribing to a “fantasy” that “most people agree” with my personal opinion of Trump.

    Well, it’s not a fantasy. Reliable empirical evidence suggests most people do agree with me (more than half of adult Americans, at least).

    And you haven’t come remotely close to proving otherwise.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ptah View Post
    No history, no exposition, no anecdote or argument changes the invariant: we are all human beings, and some humans are idiots.

  5. #155
    know nothing pensive_pilgrim's Avatar
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    We don't do a national popular vote, so a national poll isn't gonna help you predict elections. Trump is unpopular with urban populations, who are also heavily over-represented in the media. But our voting system is specifically set up so that rural populations won't be at a disadvantage despite their lower numbers. Apparently the big culture/class divide between urban and rural people was an issue back then as well.

  6. #156
    Perfect is Shit LowIQLogan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Mexico View Post
    Well, last I checked, four of the Democratic candidates (Biden, Sanders, Warren, and Harris) are currently polling ahead of him, too.

    So, OK, good point, we should look at matchup polls.

    However, when we do look at those, it still doesn’t look very good for him.

    Here’s RCP aggregations for those top 4 Democrats against Trump:


    Biden: (49.6 to 41.1)
    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/ep...iden-6247.html

    Sanders: (49.1 to 44.3)
    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/ep...ders-6250.html

    Warren (47.8 to 45.3)
    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/ep...rren-6251.html

    Harris (46.5 to 44.5)
    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/ep...rris-6252.html


    Do please note that Trump’s scores on these polls are still mostly in the 40-45% range—right where his scores on “approve/disapprove” polls currently are.

    This would tend to suggest that these two numbers actually are pretty relevant to one another. The logical basis for that is also pretty straightforward. An incumbent candidate is largely running on the strength of their prior performance in office. People who are happy with that performance are of course likely to want to re-elect the incumbent, while people who are unhappy with the incumbent’s performance are naturally likely to vote for someone else.

    So I’m afraid I still don’t see your point.

    If by “popular” you simply mean to observe that Trump has a large number of supporters then, well yes, of course he does.

    However, my point was that there has never to date been a point in time at which people who are happy about the fact that he’s in office have outnumbered people who are unhappy about it—and this is generally a bad sign for an incumbent’s re-election campaign, for obvious reasons.

    I’m basing that on ‘scientific’ polls, which of course are not perfect measurements. However, the thesis is also bolstered by the fact that the one measurement we have with a sample size of 100% of voters—the 2016 election outcome itself—even saw Trump’s opponent receive more votes than he did, just not in the right places to prevail in our strange, Byzantine system of allocating state-based electoral points instead of just counting the votes.

    That would be the obvious major problem with national popularity ratings—wrt predicting election outcomes—as the candidate who has the largest number of supporters won’t necessarily win the election.

    However, winners of the popular vote do win in the Electoral College as well far more often than not, with the exceptions tending to be cases (such as 2000) where the popular vote is very close, and the wonkier effects of the EC system of regional point allocation therefore become the deciding factor.

    I would say this was also the case in 2016. Clinton’s popular margin over Trump (48% to 46%, about 3 million votes) was larger than Gore’s over Bush (48.4% to 47.9%, about 500,000), but the geographical locations of voters played a bigger role as indicated by Trump’s larger electoral point margin (304 to 227, vs. 271 to 266). This was though still a much closer outcome on both fronts than 2008, where Obama achieved 53% of the popular vote (~9 million) and a 212-point margin over McCain, or 2012, where he also scored a majority in the popular vote (51% to 47%) by a margin of about 5 million and a 126-point margin over Romney. (Bush’s 3 million-vote margin over Kerry in 2004 corresponded to a 35-point EC margin, as close as Clinton over Trump in popular vote and closer than Trump over Clinton in electoral points.)



    You know, if I was going to be a stickler on phrasing, I might respond to your earlier description of Trump as having “won elections” by pointing out that he has only won [I]a single[/] election himself, and only led his party to one clear overall Congressional election victory the same year.

    I’m not sure I’d confidently view his personal approval rating as having a clear causal relationship to his party’s loss of a chamber of Congress in 2018, but many credible people often do make this attribution between presidential popularity and midterm Congressional elections.

    But this does bring us back to my earlier analysis of the 2016 presidential campaign—in which IIRC Trump was not an especially popular candidate with general-election voters (compared to his primary opponents, Clinton, Sanders, or winning candidates in the same phase of previous elections) any point before or after the primaries.

    Obviously he did win the primary, but primary electorates are notoriously unrepresentative of general electorates.

    Which is what ultimately happened to the Democrats—a lot of devoted Democratic partisans just adore the hell out of Hillary Clinton and see her as a hero, but they’re the only people who see her that way. Highly committed ideological partisans tend to make up the bulk of primary voters, and this makes primary voters in either party a much smaller group than the combined total of primary voters + additional “swing” voters (who likely didn’t vote in any primary) who decide the general election.

    The general electorate thus ended up facing a choice between two nominees who were both notably unpopular, and it was thus more of an “unpopularity contest” to see which candidate voters considered it more important to vote against than a popularity contest to see which candidate voters actually wanted in office.

    So Clinton ended up being the one that the most people viewed as slightly less objectionable, but only by a relatively thin margin, allowing Trump to squeak by on a technicality once the geographical distortion imposed by the Electoral College came into play.



    Hence my initial point, which is that a Democratic victory this time actually would become relatively easy if they can simply pick a nominee whom a decently large percentage of the national populace can be persuaded to actually [I]like[/] or at least positively want in office, because adult American citizens who feel that way about Trump have always been a minority.

    With a majority thinking he sucks, the Democrats mostly just have to figure out how to rally enough of those people (and in the right places for it to count for points) behind a single flag bearer to get him out of office.

    Can they do that? Maybe. Will they do it? I don’t know. That’s hard to say, especially this early.



    But you accused me of subscribing to a “fantasy” that “most people agree” with my personal opinion of Trump.

    Well, it’s not a fantasy. Reliable empirical evidence suggests most people do agree with me (more than half of adult Americans, at least).

    And you haven’t come remotely close to proving otherwise.
    The fantasy is that Trump is “not fucking popular” which you’ve already backed out of. This thought that ‘most people agree with me’ is definitely a factor in elections, where people like you feel most comfortable with decisions that go along with the crowd. This feeling was clearly stronger in 2016 when the polls you are linking had Trump’s chances at <10%. So any effect these polls have on the election, which is their main purpose for existing, will be less powerful. The reality to accept is that the Polls cannot be taken at face value as direct predictors of the election, and that Trump has a huge advantage compared to 2016.
    "A new immortal appeared in front of you. Would you like preparations of inception?"

  7. #157
    schlemiel Faust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LowIQLogan
    The fantasy is that Trump is “not fucking popular” which you’ve already backed out of.
    It's relative. Popular with his base, or popular with the country?
    "All my heroes are dead" - John Zorn

    "It's not selfish if you hate yourself"

  8. #158
    Senior Member Senseye's Avatar
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    One thing I noticed on Heph's Roger's poll site (right hand margin), was the abysmal approval ratings of Pelosi and Schumer.

    I think as a rule, incumbents tend to get lower ratings than candidates since the candidates have not been in a position of power to mismanage anything to piss people off.

    All signs point to a Trump re-election (IMO) despite the fact he is not particularly popular, because the Democrats continue to be spectacularly inept as political managers. The longevity of Pelosi, Schumer and the dismal slate of nominee candidates leave me to conclude this. It's hard to believe Biden is the best of this lot. Biden for fuck sake!
    Last edited by Senseye; 07-21-2019 at 09:55 PM.

  9. #159
    schlemiel Faust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Senseye
    It's hard to believe Biden is the best of this lot.
    If we're talking "electability" (which is a way of saying, someone other than espoused social democrats), I'd say Harris. Biden is like the poor man's establishment candidate. He's got name recognition and not much else going for him.
    "All my heroes are dead" - John Zorn

    "It's not selfish if you hate yourself"

  10. #160
    Minister of Love Roger Mexico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LowIQLogan View Post
    The fantasy is that Trump is “not fucking popular” which you’ve already backed out of. This thought that ‘most people agree with me’ is definitely a factor in elections, where people like you feel most comfortable with decisions that go along with the crowd. This feeling was clearly stronger in 2016 when the polls you are linking had Trump’s chances at <10%. So any effect these polls have on the election, which is their main purpose for existing, will be less powerful. The reality to accept is that the Polls cannot be taken at face value as direct predictors of the election, and that Trump has a huge advantage compared to 2016.
    Dude, I haven’t backed out of anything.

    I said Trump isn’t fucking popular, and he isn’t fucking popular.

    I used the same data the first time that I linked to you in the second post—and then cited other data in the third post that also supports the same thesis.

    Initially I said Trump’s approval ratings over his first two years in office have mostly hovered within the same range where Bush’s were at the end of his second term.

    Looking at the historical charts on the Fivethirtyeight page below the chart for Trump I see that I did misremember Bush’s 2007 ratings as higher than they were. He started 2007 at about 33%, and then dropped, ultimately leaving office with a rating of 26%.

    However, if we look at Bush’s first two-and-a-half years—where Trump is now—he started off with a modestly positive rating in the mid-50’s, then he suddenly spiked up into the 80’s on 9/11, and enjoyed majority support for most of his first term. The terminal decline starts in 2004, and so 30-45%, which is where Trump’s score has been hanging out this whole time, is more where Bush’s numbers were between 2004 and 2006, after which the slide continued until he left office at the all-time low of 26%.

    Obama started out in the low 60’s, then dropped from there to about 45% by the point Trump is at now. He then hovers between the mid-40’s and low-50’s until his second term, where he kind of troughs out for awhile at 40-45% before a last-minute rally in 2007 to go out with a final rating of about 55%.

    We have to go back to Ford to find something comparable to Trump, where the President mostly stays consistently below 50% for the first two years he’s in office.

    And Ford’s numbers are erratic, rapidly going up and down, with even a couple of short spikes where he briefly crests 50%.

    Trump has never had majority approval in his first 2.5 years. This is not true of any other president charted on this page, which goes back to Truman.



    I.E., He’s not fucking popular. He’s the least popular American president since World War II. (And possibly longer than that.)



    If there’s any fantasy at work here, it’s the one Trump constantly promotes about himself—the idea that he rode in a huge wave of overwhelming popular enthusiasm, and that he enjoys the loyal devotion of some ‘silent majority’ of the populace.

    Neither of those things is true. Unless somebody’s got something pretty spectacular to show me that I’ve never seen before, there’s no sound evidence that he’s ever been supported by any kind of majority whatsoever.

    What really happened is he squeaked on a technicality despite most Americans thinking he sucks—in my assessment, mostly because the Democrats own-goaled by picking an extremely nominee.


    They might well pick an extremely shitty nominee again this time. They kind of have a habit of doing that.

    IMO Biden would be a pretty shitty nominee, for instance, and he is leading the primary polls—though again, following your recommendation to look at matchup polls, even Biden is polling double digits over Trump.


    I never said I think Trump is guaranteed to lose.


    What I said was that “why is Trump so popular?” is not the vital strategic question for Democrats to figure out that someone was making it out to be—because he isn’t actually very popular in the first place. They’re probably better off asking why the candidate they all adored last time was so extremely unpopular with everybody besides themselves that she was only slightly more popular than the least popular president in modern history.



    Like, the irony here is that Trump and his sycophants actually kinda have half a point about one thing.

    The Democratic Party actually has become very insular, arrogant, and “out of touch” with what’s going on with prevailing popular sentiment among the general public.

    It’s a problem they’ve had for some time, but 2016 does serve as a pretty indicative example of it.

    Just not in the same way that Donny Dipshit and the Magatard Brigades think it does.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ptah View Post
    No history, no exposition, no anecdote or argument changes the invariant: we are all human beings, and some humans are idiots.

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